FireWire to get a speed bump to 3.2 Gigabit/s
by, December 17th, 2007 at 11:43 PM
On December 12, 2007 The 1394 Trade Association posted a press release which details the upcoming FireWire standard, otherwise known as S3200.
According to the article, the new standard would increase the FireWire transfer rate to 3.2 Gbps/s. The new standard is building on the previous 1394b (FireWire 800) standard, so all FireWire 800 cables can be used with the new S3200 standard.
“New S3200 specification delivers higher speed than competing technologies - and much sooner - with no changes to connectors or cables.”
The next generation FireWire interface will have a transfer rate four times faster than FireWire 800 and eight times faster than FireWire 400. Also of note, the new standard will allow faster transmissions of HD content over longer distances at less cost than HDMI.
The new FireWire standard is expected to be sanctioned by February of 2008.
The next generation USB interface, USB 3, is due the first half of 2008 and boasts transfer speeds up to 4.8 Gbps/s. USB has nearly always failed to deliver on their published speed specs. USB 2, for example, supposedly has a transfer rate of 480 Mbps/s, but the actual top speed is somewhere around 240 Mbps. The reason is that USB 2 constantly needs software management, thus causing redundancy issues, and speed loss and fluctuation. Also, the electrical power which flows through USB is not constant, which affects the constant software management.
FireWire, on the other hand, has constant electric power and requires little to no software management, thus giving a constant transfer speed of 400 Mbps/s or 800 Mbps/s.
Apple Inc. first introduced FireWire in 1999. Watch Video.
I currently do not own any FireWire 800 devices, but I own several FireWire 400 devices. The new 3.2 Gbps/s standard is very tempting though. Once Apple releases a computer with the new standard, I will definitely get some S3200 enabled hard drives.
How I long for iPods with FireWire connectivity! Transferring one or two songs onto my iPod Shuffle via USB 2 is fine for me, but transferring lots of music albums and TV Shows to my 5th generation iPod would be so much faster via FireWire.
Mbps/s = Megabits per second
Gbps/s = Gigabits per second
There are 8 bits in 1 byte, so 400 Mbps/s is equal to 50 megabytes per second and 3.2 Gbps/s is equal to 400 megabytes per second.
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